Dragons winger Kevin Morgan scored in each half as his side won a hard-fought derby match at Rodney Parade last night. His first effort was a fluke, but there was no questioning the second try as the Blues suffered their fourth straight Celtic League defeat and ensured an uphill struggle to earn a Heineken Cup spot next season.
Blues skipper Martyn Williams produced another superb all-round performance, but the Dragons' superior cutting edge out wide - particularly through fullback Percy Montgomery and inside centre Sione Tuipulotu - carried the home side through.
"It was a gutsy win," Dragons skipper Michael Owen said. "We had to dig deep because of the way the Blues played and this is a massive result for us.
"We'll have to play better next weekend, but this is a good win."
The Arms Park side went into the match without Test backs Tom Shanklin, Jamie Robinson and Nicky Robinson, but drew first blood when fullback Rhys Williams ran on to a grubber-kick from fly-half Nick Macleod to score in the corner. A well-struck Macleod penalty goal extended the lead to 8-0, before a piece of luck brought the Dragons back into the match in the 25th minute.
Scrum-half Gareth Baber kicked ahead in loose play, the ball struck a Blues player and lock Peter Sidoli found himself in legal possession 40 metres up the pitch. Quick ball to the left gave Morgan a free run to the try-line for his side's first points.
Dragons fly-half Ceri Sweeney butchered a certain try when he over-ran a charged-down kick, but centre Sione Tuipulotu scored from close range within 60 seconds to give the home side a 12-8 lead at halftime. Macleod and Sweeney traded penalty goals, but the Blues' lack of firepower out wide was starting to tell.
They opted to keep the ball in hand and drive up the middle, but the Dragons' defence held firm. Macleod and Sweeney continued their personal duel with another penalty goal each, before a second try to Morgan sealed the victory five minutes from the end.
Replacement Blues winger Jonny Vaughton - whose pace should have been on the field from the kick-off - scored a late consolation for the visitors.
Dragons: P Montgomery; N Brew, H Luscombe, S Tuipulotu, K Morgan; C Sweeney, G Baber; A Black, S Jones (J Richards 72), R Thomas, L Charteris, P Sidoli, I Gough, M Owen (capt), J Ringer
Scorers: Tries - K Morgan 2, S Tuipulotu
Pens: C Sweeney 2
Cons: C Sweeney 2
Blues: R Williams; D Dewdney, S James, T Davies, C Morgan (J Vaughton 72); N Macleod, R Powell; J Yapp, R Thomas, G Jenkins, D Jones, R Sidoli, K Schubert, J Malpas (N Thomas 68), M Williams (capt)
Scorers: Tries - R Williams, J Vaughton
Pens: N Macleod 3
Con: N Macleod.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)